By Matt Egan | CNN
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy is calling on the federal government to investigate national security concerns raised by Saudi Arabia’s role in Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter.
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal helped Musk finance the $44 billion acquisition of Twitter ( TWTR ) by transferring his existing share of $1.9 billion at the social media company. The move makes the Saudi entities Twitter’s second-largest shareholder, behind only Musk himself.
“We should be concerned that the Saudis, who have a clear interest in suppressing political speech and influencing US policy, are now the second largest owner of a major social media platform,” Murphy said in a tweet on Monday.
The Connecticut Democrat urged Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CFIUS, to conduct an investigation into the “national security implications” of Saudi involvement. CIFUS, an interagency commission chaired by the U.S. Treasury Department, reviews takeovers of American businesses by foreign buyers and has the ability to block transactions that raise concerns.
Although Musk already close your swallow on Twitter late last week, he could still be subject to a national security review.
According to the 2021 annual CFIUS report to Congress, the panel has the authority to “review pending or completed transactions” if a committee member believes there are national security concerns.
“There’s a clear national security issue at stake and CFIUS needs to do a review,” Murphy said, noting that another major social media platform, TikTok, is owned by a Chinese company. “This is a dangerous trend and we must not accept it.
Both the White House and the Treasury Department declined to comment in response to a call from Murphy.
Earlier this month, Twitter shares fell after that Bloomberg News reported that Biden officials are in early discussions about possibly subjecting some of Musk’s ventures to national security review, including the Twitter deal.
However, US officials rejected this report. “We are now aware of such conversations,” National Security Council spokesman Adrienne Watson said in a statement on Oct. 21.